Psyllium is becoming popular lately for its various health benefits. Out of all, one important health benefit of Psyllium is weight loss. All of you, who trying to lose weight, remember this name.
I had a hard time to remember this name and firstly spell it correctly. My software showed a spelling mistake until I added it to my dictionary.
Like many of you, even I didn’t know much about this effective weight loss herb. It was only when one of my friends told me about it, I researched and gained knowledge.
I know, to lose weight is one task in itself. It is better said than done, to eat healthily and monitor your weight. But, with the help of some special herbs, it is possible to lose weight.
I always wanted to lose weight naturally, without undergoing any medication. It is always better to lose weight naturally as natural herbs are less harmful.
Are you wondering what exactly Psyllium is! So, let me explain you in depth, about Psyllium and its benefits for health.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Psyllium?
- 2 Where does Psyllium Come From?
- 3 What is the Nutritional Value of Psyllium?
- 4 What are the Health Benefits of Psyllium?
- 5 Why is Psyllium Good for Weight Loss?
- 6 Psyllium Dosage and Best Uses
- 7 Psyllium Precautions
- 8 Side Effects of Psyllium
What is Psyllium?
Psyllium is referred to the fibers of the plant named Plantago Ovata. It is the most common herb in India. Each plant can produce around 15,000 gel-coated seeds, from which the Psyllium husk can be taken out.
It is a husk that is water-soluble and does not ferment. Psyllium husk is used extensively in the laxatives.
Laxatives are required by your body to cure constipation. In many of the medicines, Psyllium is present.
Plantago Psyllium is also known as Ispaghula or Isabgol. The genus name of this plant is Plantago. The literal meaning of Plantago Ovata is the Horse Flower.
Plantago Ovata grows to a height of around 30 cm to 46 cm from ground level. It has numerous tiny shoots coming out from the base of the plant. These shoots get white flowers in the flowering season.
The plants start to flower, after a period of 60 days from the day of planting. These flowers then give rise to the seeds that are intact in them.
Psyllium Plantago or Plantago Ovata is planted widely only because of the high mucilage content. It is also known as Psyllium Husk. It is present as the gelling agent, in the laxatives.
Psyllium husk is a part of the Psyllium seeds. The outer coating of the seeds is processed to get the husk. It is done by milling and grinding the seeds.
Where does Psyllium Come From?
There are more than 200 species of the Plantago species. Plantago Psyllium is hugely produced in India, Pakistan, Europe and the Soviet Union.
India is the largest producer and exporter of Psyllium. It is popularly known as Isabgol in India. These plants are also known as Plantains.
These are herbaceous and mostly used as a food by the butterflies and moths. These plants grow in wet soil.
Plantago is indigenous to almost every place. You can find these plants in Asia, America, Europe, Africa and New Zealand. Although it is growing in the coastal areas, it also grows along the roadsides.
What is Psyllium Made From?
Indians obtain the husk by milling the seed coat. Each layer of the seed contains approximately 25 to 35 percent of Psyllium mucilage.
The whole process involves an elaborate seed cleaning process after which, dehusking of the seeds is done. Once the raw seeds are cleaned and polished, they are then, ground in the mills.
A large sieve is used to separate the Kernels from the Husk.
Manufacturers can take out almost 25 percent of the mucilage from the seed coats. When the husk absorbs water, it becomes ten times of its original size.
The water absorbing capacity of the seed coat is responsible for its laxative property.
Psyllium Plantago has numerous health benefits. It is in the pages of history that people have used Psyllium for diuretics, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, anti-toxic, anti-microbial and as a laxative.
Psyllium is becoming popular because of its weight loss potential. It does that by various ways. I will explain that in the later section.
What is the Nutritional Value of Psyllium?
Many times, you must have heard people saying, fibers are essential for your body. It is because fibers are responsible for the cleansing of your system.
Raw fruits and vegetables are rich in fibers. The daily dietary requirements of fibers in your body should be met, to keep your bowel clean.
Vegetables such as Cauliflower, French Beans, Brocolli, etc. are the rich sources of dietary fibers. You can also have flax seeds to meet the daily fiber requirements of your body.
But, if you are not able to include all the above, in your daily diet, you can try Psyllium. There are two types of fibers, one is soluble, and the other is insoluble.
Both the fibers are essential for your body in a different manner.
The soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel. This gel slows down the sugar absorption in the body. It is helpful for weight loss.
Also, for the diabetes patients, the water-soluble fibers are essential as they keep the sugar levels from spiking.
You can get soluble fibers in vegetables, lentils, fruits, etc.
As the name suggests, the insoluble fibers are essential for your body to keep the bowels clean. They help to move the food in the intestines.
Insoluble fibers are important to keep your heart healthy, and the blood flow, proper. It helps in clearing the blockages in the arteries as well.
You can get insoluble fibers in raw vegetables, rice bran, and whole grains.
The total dietary fiber content in 2 tablespoons serving in Psyllium is 8 grams. You can easily include this fiber in your daily diet along with the other things and meet the daily requirement of 26 gram for female and 38 gram for the male body.
Apart from this, Psyllium husk has no cholesterol and fat. It can give you 20 calories per serving. It has 0.2 gram of protein and 10 milligrams of sodium.
You can include it in your daily diet and get the million dollar health benefits along with digestion.
What are the Health Benefits of Psyllium?
Psyllium husk is a winner when it comes to improving and maintaining your health. It is low in calories and is effective in various ways for your body.
Have a look at some of the benefits of Psyllium husk listed below:
Fibers are essential for your body to lose weight. They help in cleansing the colon and also delay fat absorption in your blood.
When you take psyllium husk in the powder form or as a tablet, it helps your body to lose weight in four ways. It cleanses the colon, improves digestion, curbs your appetite and delays fat absorption.
I will explain the whole mechanism and dosage for weight loss in the later section.
Constipation is a growing problem among many of us. There is no specific reason why constipation happens. One reason is dehydration.
But, if you frequently suffer from constipation, you should keep the Psyllium husk handy. It helps a lot in curing mild constipation problems.
The psyllium husk is mucilage that converts into a gel-like substance when it absorbs water or liquid. This gel-like substance enlarges the colons and lets the stool pass.
Be careful while taking Psyllium powder, because if you drink less water, it can worsen the condition of constipation.
Decreases Acid Reflux
I suffer from acid reflux. But since the time I have started taking psyllium, I feel much better. I will give you the details of the recipes and doses for acid reflux, in the next section.
The psyllium husk, when taken with cold milk, has the potential to subside your acidity. The husk lines your stomach walls and prevents the acidity from eating it up.
Thus, it reduces the acidity significantly. I make sure to include psyllium husk in my regular diet.
Maintains Heart Health
For a healthy heart, you need to have the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, well balanced in your body.
Because of improper eating habits and various other reasons, there is usually a rise in the cholesterol levels of your body.
Psyllium helps in maintaining the cholesterol and reducing it in the body. It delays the absorption of triglycerides in the blood, which in turn reduces cholesterol.
Low cholesterol means fewer chances of blockage in your arteries. Even if you don’t have a heart-related problem, add this fiber in your diet to maintain the health of your heart.
Diabetes happens due to an imbalance in the insulin production in the body. There are two types of diabetes; one is Diabetes type one, and the other is Diabetes type two.
In the Type Two Diabetes; the body becomes sensitive to insulin, and the sugar levels rise, in your blood. It is harmful to your heart.
Psyllium helps in delaying and decreasing the absorption of sugar in your body. When less sugar is absorbed, your blood sugar will not spike up.
Helps in Hemorrhoid
A hemorrhoid is a condition where the anal walls become damaged and painful. If you are a patient of Hemorrhoid, which is also known as Piles, Psyllium might help.
Psyllium is a fiber that can absorb much water and become ten times its original size. To pass the stool in Piles is extremely painful. If the stool is hard, then the pain is all the more.
In some cases, it bleeds as well. Taking Psyllium makes the stool softer. The fiber absorbs water and makes the stool soft and easy to pass through the colon and anus.
Hard stools can worsen the condition. But, you should drink ample amount of water while taking Psyllium husk.
Psyllium when taken with less water, can solidify and absorb much water from your colon. Psyllium is a fiber that absorbs a lot of water. So, to treat constipation, you drink a lot of water.
But, in the case of Diarrhea, people recommend taking Psyllium powder with curd. The consistency is not that liquid. It helps in solidifying the stool in your colon.
The fiber absorbs water from your colon and makes the stool hard. Use Psyllium only for a day or two, to treat Diarrhea. Else, it can cause constipation.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Scientists have found out that the Plantago fiber is useful in reducing the blood pressure. In their experiments, they proved that when you take Psyllium for six months, there is a reduction in Blood Pressure.
However, for any heart-related conditions, like Blood Pressure, Diabetes, etc. it is advisable to consult your physician before trying anything.
There is a possibility that the herb, which you are taking, may not benefit you and show severe side effects.
For the people who suffer from indigestion, Psyllium can be a great help. This fiber can help you cleanse your colons and body. To digest the food properly, it is necessary to have cleansed colons.
Moreover, the insoluble fibers in psyllium husk travel all through the gut and clean the walls internally.
Prevents Colon Cancer
Some studies of the researchers show that Psyllium can help to prevent the Colon cancer. One reason of this might be, the cleansing ability of the fiber.
Always remember, all the benefits listed here, are applicable only if you take the herb in the advised quantity.
Why is Psyllium Good for Weight Loss?
For all of you, who are looking to lose weight using something natural, Psyllium is an option. You might have heard that fibers are essential for your body.
One importance of fiber in the body is weight loss. Many of the people do not meet their regular requirements of fiber. It is because there are insufficient fibers in the food you take.
To complete the daily requirements, you need to include fiber-rich food in your diet. Psyllium husk is good for weight loss because of not one, but numerous reasons.
Psyllium husk has minimal calories. You can count them as zero. Also, the sodium content in the Psyllium husk is negligible. If you take more than required sodium, your body can bloat and look fat.
To answer the question in depth, let me explain you the mechanisms by which, Psyllium can help you lose weight.
Curbing your appetite
If you have a habit of eating all the time because you feel hungry, Psyllium can reduce your hunger. Often, you become hungry not because your body needs food, but because it is a habit.
Your body is more like a biological clock. It becomes the way you tame it. If you have a habit of eating more than required, your body will always crave for food.
Eating more will lead to more fat deposition in the body. Your body can take up a limited amount of glucose and use it to produce energy.
The excess glucose is converted into glycogen and stored in the adipose tissue in the form of fat. So, one way to prevent the fat from getting deposited is by eating less.
Psyllium husk has a huge role in curbing appetite. It makes you feel full in the stomach.
Lowering fat absorption in the body
Psyllium husk can take up a lot of water and swell. It can become ten times its original size when it absorbs water.
After taking up water, the husk becomes a gel-like substance that resists the take-up of sugar in the body.
If there is less sugar intake in the cells of the body, less glycogen will form. When the glycogen is limited, it will not convert into the fat cells deposited in the adipose tissue.
I will explain to you how the process takes place, in brief. The feeling of hunger and the feeling of a full stomach is because of the signals that reach your brain.
When the stomach is empty, the energy level drops and the signal is sent to your brain to eat food. This is how you feel hungry. Sometimes you crave for something sweet and sometimes salty.
It all depends on the signal your brain receives from the body. But, once you eat the mucilage, it goes in your stomach and swells. The non-soluble fiber does not dissolve in water.
Once the mucilage swells, the stomach is full. It remains in your stomach for a longer time. The insoluble fibers travel through your digestive system undissolved.
Psyllium not only makes you feel satisfied and full but also, keeps your food cravings away, for a longer duration.
It is difficult to be on a diet because you keep getting the food cravings throughout the day. But, if you add mucilage in your food, you can curb your hunger and feel full throughout the day.
Relieving Constipation and Colon cleansing
Bowel movement is essential for weight loss. You can not lose weight if your bowel is not clear. Even the exercises don’t show a positive effect if your bowel is not clear.
It is essential to have a clean colon, and good bowel for weight loss. You must have heard that the laxatives help in bowel movement. Psyllium is a laxative that can help you cleanse your body.
It is the mucilage that turns into a gel-like soft substance. Because of its ability to swell ten times, it can enlarge the intestines, and allow the feces to move.
Constipation happens when the feces can’t move towards the opening of your intestines. You can have constipation because of numerous reasons.
One reason why constipation happens is less intake of water. Taking less water will make the stool harder, and difficult to pass.
Hardened feces are difficult to move, because they stick to the walls of the intestine. Sometimes, constipation can also happen because of dehydration.
While having Psyllium, be sure to take enough water. If you don’t do so, it can lead to constipation.
Psyllium has soluble and insoluble fibers. The insoluble fibers travel all the way from your gut to the whole digestive system. They act like a scrub for your digestive system.
The waste material that is stuck on the inner walls of your intestines also gets cleaned by the movement of these insoluble fibers. Cleansing and detoxification of the colons, is essential for weight loss.
High level of cholesterol is also a reason for obesity. You can gain weight if you have cholesterol in your body.
Out of the two types of cholesterols, good and bad, the bad cholesterol is responsible for weight gain.
Psyllium helps your body to keep a check over the bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is the one, which gets deposited on the inner walls causing heart problems. The fibers cleanse all the deposited cholesterol.
Along with cholesterol, Psyllium husk also helps in keeping a check on the sugar absorption. It lowers the absorption of fat in the body.
But, remember that you can not lose weight just by adding Psyllium husk to your diet. It is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle where you practice good food habits and regular exercise.
No herb can help you lose weight if you don’t maintain your lifestyle. All the herbs that you take, to lose weight, have a dose to be followed.
To get the maximum benefits of Psyllium husk in improving your overall health and for weight loss, have a look at the section below.
Psyllium Dosage and Best Uses
I try to add Psyllium to my daily diet, to meet the daily requirements of the fiber. The dosage of the Psyllium husk depends on the objective. It is different for weight loss than it is for constipation.
Dosage of Psyllium Husk for Constipation
Constipation is one of the primary cures of Psyllium husk. You can use the whole Psyllium husk, or its powder to treat it.
If it is something serious, better is to consult your physician.
- 1 – 2 Teaspoons Psyllium Powder
- 240 ml (8 oz) water
- Mix the psyllium powder in 240 ml water.
- If you take warm water, it is all the more beneficial.
- Take the mixture once before the meal during the day and once after the meal at night.
- Do not eat anything after taking the mixture at night.
Dosage of Psyllium Husk for Diarrhea
Isn’t it amazing that Psyllium can treat constipation as well as Diarrhea? It can do this because the recipes are different. The consistency of Psyllium husk in water and other things is different.
Psyllium along with yogurt can treat Diarrhea.
- 2 Teaspoons Psyllium powder
- 3 Teaspoons fresh yogurt
- Mix the Psyllium powder in fresh yogurt until it is a homogenous mixture.
- Take this twice a day after meal
- Take it for two days to see best results
The yogurt when mixed with Psyllium husk, helps in solidifying the stool
Dosage of Psyllium Husk for Digestion
If you suffer from any digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome, or chronic indigestion, psyllium can help.
When you add psyllium husk or powder to buttermilk, it can help your body, digest the food. Buttermilk is good to improve digestion.
If you don’t want to use buttermilk, you can also use milk. But, be careful because of people with indigestion, often stay away from milk.
You can also use Psyllium capsules for curing constipation. But, make sure to have ample amount of water with it.
- 2 Teaspoons Psyllium Powder
- 240 ml (8 oz) buttermilk
- Prepare the buttermilk at home.
- Add two teaspoons of psyllium powder in it
- Take the mixture immediately after making it because you don’t want the powder to swell before consumption
- Continue taking the mixture once daily until your problem solves.
Dosage of Psyllium Husk for Hemorrhoids
Acute constipation can cause Hemorrhoids which are also known as Piles. It is a condition, which is extremely painful at times.
During Hemorrhoids, it is painful to pass stools that are harder. So, psyllium husk helps in softening the stools.
It absorbs water from the intestines and makes the stool softer and easier to pass.
By passing hard stools, the condition might get worsened. Softer stools do not stretch the anal walls much, thus, help to decrease the pain.
- 2 Teaspoons Psyllium Powder
- 240 ml (8 oz) warm water
- Prepare a mixture of the warm water and psyllium husk powder until it dissolves completely
- Have it every night before sleep
- Take as much water as possible with apart from the mixture
- It will help in softening the stools
Dosage of Psyllium Husk for Acid Reflux
Psyllium can help you treat acid reflux. It can at least improve the condition, if not cure it fully. You can get relief by having a mixture of Psyllium and Milk.
Cold milk is helpful to reduce the acid reflux in your body. Mostly, people prefer cold milk and water to treat the acidity. But, when you add Psyllium powder to the cold milk, it helps even more.
- 2 Teaspoons Psyllium Powder
- 1 cup cold milk
- Prepare a mixture of cold milk and psyllium powder
- You can add water to it if you can’t digest milk
- Take half cup cold milk and half cup water, then add the psyllium powder
- Have it daily after each meal until the condition improves
Dosage of Psyllium Husk for Healthy Heart
You can improve and maintain your heart health with the help of psyllium powder. Psyllium helps in reducing cholesterol, which is harmful to your heart.
Prepare a mixture of 2 teaspoons of psyllium and 8 oz water. Have it daily in the morning before you start your day. It will be beneficial for your heart, stomach, and overall health.
For anything related to your heart, it is always advisable to consult your physician first. Psyllium has a lot of health benefits, but, you need to take precautions before using any herb.
To include psyllium in your daily diet, you can add it to your smoothies and soups. But, make sure to have it immediately after you prepare. Do not keep it for long.
- Do not use Psyllium husk if you are suffering from a serious medical condition. It might just aggravate your problems.
- For pregnant and lactating women, it is always advisable to use any herbs, with a proper consultation of their physician because, there are certain hormonal imbalances during this time.
- If you are giving the Psyllium powder to your children, read about the doses first. Children are likely to have allergies more than the adults. Avoid giving them anything without your physician’s consent
- Psyllium can show adverse effects on the people with serious heart problems.
- When you take the fiber for any health benefit, make sure to drink a lot of water with it, unless it is to cure Diarrhea.
- If you are taking medicines, it might react with psyllium, and show the adverse drug reactions. Psyllium also slows down its absorption in your body
- If your body shows any unusual signs after taking the fiber, consult your physician without any delay.
Side Effects of Psyllium
- People with difficulty in swallowing might feel narrowing of the Oesophagus.
- The Psyllium husk powder enlarges and absorbs water from your body, leaving a choking effect.
- Some people might have allergic reactions when it is in the food
- Allergic reactions may be as severe as Anaphylaxis.
- Blood sugar might drop drastically in the Diabetic patients.
- Some side effects include difficulty in breathing, swallowing, vomiting and chest pain.
- Delays the absorption of nutrients in the body like Vitamins, Minerals, etc.
Closing Words – Is Psyllium Good for You?
I have been using Psyllium in smaller quantities daily in my diet. It helps me to improve digestion and keep my acid reflux at bay.
But, having said that, if you are looking for weight loss with Psyllium husk, consider all the side effects and precautions associated with it.
Psyllium can sure, help you improve your overall health, but only if, you take proper dosage daily. If you are suffering from any medical condition, it is advisable not to try any of the weight loss herbs.
Also, when you try, first do it with minimal quantities. If Psyllium husk suits you, then incorporate it into your daily diet. It is a beneficial weight loss herb undoubtedly.
I hope all the information comes to your help in losing weight! If you like this article, do not forget to put your thoughts in the comments section below.
Also, please share this article with your friends and family, because sharing useful things is always a good idea.